Ceci’s Day

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Most elegant sun in months, and it appeared for Cecilia’s First Communion

Processional (that’s Kieran cheering as he recognizes his sister)

My bags are packed…

I loved calling Cianciana My Home for awhile:

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Certo, la vita è bella a Cianciana

Odysseus, The Cyclops, Aeneas (& Anchises): All Present & Accounted for, and…What’s THAT???

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We turned right along  the Straits of Messina and kept driving until we saw it, the volcano which,  even in the past week,  has been playfully erupting.

From Taormina -- Mt Etna

From Taormina — Mt Etna

We’ve now been two days in Catania, with better sightings of Mt. Etna, better photo ops than ever, yet I haven’t bothered. I should begin with full disclosure: I am a sucker for mountains. Anyhow, a couple days ago,  as we started the short walk up to chic, bustling Taormina,  I saw  the great, to me mystical, mountain for the first time (outside of the car ride, when Etna was something of a moving target).It  was  like seeing the Taj Mahal – those first views erase the cliché and etch the thing itself in the cerebrum, forever. No longer any need for pictures.

And Catania? It seems to be a grimier version of Palermo, and I mean that in the nicest way.

First, there were the Breakfast surprises:

Then, ah! a market to rival any I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something

LOST in Sicily

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Today was to have been  a 3-hr, 300 km drive.  About 80 km into the missed the A19 exit, I mentioned that I thought we were off course.


A few hours, several mountains, many  tunnels, and a long series  of adventures later, I tossed aside Lonely Planet  and Rough  Guide. 

Our Fiat is small, but the streets of Western Sicily are narrow. Result: large scratch. Today, we waited the 30 minutes requ

Our Fiat is narrow, but the streets of Western Sicily are narrower.  Result: large scratch. Today,  Guido reduced the scratch to niente.

View from the hotel in Brolo

View from “Sea Palace Gattopardo,” Brolo

We asked a delightful  Brolo native   if he could help us  find a hotel, and now  here we are, about 150km away from our day’s intended destination, but in  A Room with a View – and WHAT A VIEW

PILGRIMAGE to an Ancient Windy City

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“OH, NO, Signora, we never run the gondola if it is too windy. Today is wind [sic], but we will run it for you.”

Gondola, on the 750m trip up to Erice

Gondola, on the 750m trip up to Erice. Remember to double-click on this photo, so you can count all the other people who made the trip up and down the mountain with us today. Hint: it’s less than one.

As our gondola climbed the mountain, I pretended to agree with the chipper Peggy Schmidt, as she    peered around at all the other – EMPTY – gondolas and crowed,  “See? If it were a sunny day, you know we’d be fighting the crowds.”
The  city, even shrouded in mist today,  really is spectacular, and its denizens? Lovely.

Erice was founded by a people claiming descent from the Trojans. What remains today is mostly medieval – walled city, narrow streets.

The art of the cell phone

The art of the cell phone

At the end of our visit this afternoon, we visited Sicily’s finest pasticceria, “Maria Grammatico,” where I ran into Maria herself coming out of the kitchen. She was clearly flattered that I recognized her, b/c she smiled [long-sufferingly?] and took my hand.


Maria Grammatico’s

In case anybody  wondered, it's still within the Octave of Easter

In case anybody wondered, it’s still within the Octave of Easter


On the Road: Palermo ––>Trapani

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IMG_2844   trapani
Arriving here, we drove along the Tyrrhenian, and to get our bearings in the city, we walked along the Mediterranean. Trapani’s rich history (Virgil’s Anchises, father of Aeneas!) was the initial draw,  and the people and views are keeping us a couple more days.


I love that , since Easter,  crucifixes in/over the main altars have all been replaced by statues like this one in Trapani's S.Antonio de Paolo. BTW, I''m quite certain that's CRYSTAL behind San Salvatore!

I love that , since Easter, crucifixes in/over  so many main altars have  been replaced by statues like this one in Trapani’s S.Francesco di Paolo. BTW, I”m quite certain that’s CRYSTAL behind San Salvatore!